Marion Bartoli, the former French tennis star and 2013 Wimbledon champion, is planning to open a tennis academy in Dubai with the aim of discovering and nurturing future Emirati champions.
The 36-year-old Frenchwoman announced her retirement from tennis in 2013, just over a month after her sensational triumph at Wimbledon.
During her visit to Dubai Sports Council, Bartoli was received by Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Council.
Bartoli, who had also reached the Wimbledon final in 2007, was accompanied by her husband Yahya Boumediene, a Belgian professional football player, and Raja Rabia, the Consul General of France to Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Welcoming the group and appreciating Bartoli’s desire to launch projects in Dubai, Hareb said Dubai Sports Council is always ready to support projects and initiatives that enrich and enhance Dubai’s burgeoning sports sector.
Thanking Hareb, Bartoli, who cruised to the 2013 Wimbledon title without dropping a set, defeating Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 in the final, revealed she has been a Dubai resident since the end of 2013 as she moved to the emirate weeks after calling time on her playing career.
“I absolutely love this place and will never think about living elsewhere in the world,” said Bartoli, who won eight singles titles in 14 seasons on the WTA Tour.
“I love Dubai because it is a very safe place and it has beautiful weather all year long. I just love to sit on the beach and think about my life and what I want to do.”
When asked about her academy plans, Bartoli said helping Emirati talent would be her biggest goal.
“My new project is about opening a tennis academy here in Dubai for local Emirati tennis players to become champions and one day have the chance to play in Wimbledon and elsewhere,” he said.
“And, of course, for all other kids, especially for French kids who are here in Dubai.”